Tantric/Sanskrit term similar in content to the Near Eastern/European concept of the ritual prostitute. A passage in the Niruttara Tantra takes pains to state that the veshya are not common prostitutes - who are known by the same name - but are so called only because of the independence they have in common.

An elaborate exposition and classification of such women is given in chapter 14 of the Kula inspired Niruttara. The text also defines the types veshya for us, in general, as a woman who, at the sight of articles for worship, desires sexual intercourse.
[Banerjee, S. C. A Brief History of Tantra Literature. Calcutta, 1988. p.267] The names of the seven different types and some of their characteristics are as follows:

  1. Gupta veshya: a woman born as daughter of Tantric devotees, passionate and devoid of shame, who prefers a pashu husband
  2. Mahakula veshya: a woman who likes to undress and to be naked
  3. Kula veshya: a woman born into a Kula family
  4. Mahodaya-Kula veshya: a devoted Tantric woman who chooses the path of detachment and wants to become the wife of a vira
  5. Raja veshya: a woman free and independent like a queen
  6. Deva veshya: a woman who first unites with the deity (represented by the officiating priest) before she receives the semen of a worshipper; one who also repeatedly kisses her yoni and forehead
  7. Brahma veshya: a woman who observes all practices (i.e., a female initiate)

The are different explanations for some of these names, and one such set is given in connection with the Deva Chakra.

Another type of veshya, not mentioned in the Niruttara, is the veshya kumarika or virgin harlot of the Kumari puja.

See also Pancha Chakra, Ritual Prostitution